What Floats Your Boat? Finding the Key to What Motivates Members of Your Team

What Floats Your Boat? Finding the Key to What Motivates Members of Your Team

Think about what motivates you for a second. Now imagine that your motivation level is a balloon car. You get lifted by various external and internal forces (balloons), and you get pulled down by others (sandbags). As a boss you need to find out what lifts up or drags down your people. This up and down movement is a constant, dynamic interaction and rarely, if ever, a static situation.

Here are some Motivators to work with:

Dreams and goals

This is a very large and powerful balloon. It is a key to determining what will make a person perform at the highest level. Typically, we don’t ask our employees about their dreams and goals, but the truth is, you not only need to understand them, you need to drill down to get specifics. It is important to understand your team members’ goals and how they link to your business.

Recognition and reward

Although interpersonal recognition may be one of the most effective balloons, it is still the most under-utilised motivator. Determine what type of recognition best motivates your team members – is it letters? verbally thanking them? gift cards? etc. Do they appreciate public recognition or private?

Belief and hope

Belief reflects an individual’s internal feelings and attitudes about the capability to implement or execute a given process. Hope is the external manifestation of belief. Together, belief and hope create commitment. They are critical for every coach because they make work life significantly more satisfying and fulfilling.

Respected participation and taking ownership

Generally, the more people are involved in the decision-making process and the more they feel their voices have been heard and their opinions matter, the more motivated they will be. This involvement will motivate your team members to exceed expectations.

And remember, all performers—middle managers, senior personnel, and high performers—need to be motivated! It’s your job to find the best way.

Your thoughts?

Claudia Irmer is a Results Consultant for Cohen Brown Management (Europe) Ltd.

Cohen Brown Management Group is the internally recognized leader in sales-and-service cultural and behavioral change, specializing in consulting and training processes for management, front-line, support/customer service units and call centers. Performance Grapevine provides thought leadership insights on sales training, sales management, leadership training, time management, consultative selling, behavior change, organization change, and culture change.


  1. Pete 11 years ago

    Good key bullets you point out Claudia!

  2. Neda Bayat 11 years ago

    This is ‘spot on’. Motivation is a term that’s thrown around so much we tend to forget the true value to delievering on it. By finding out as you said what are the motivators (balloons) and even demotivators (sandbags) we can be effective as coaches and leaders and have the privelege of watching our Team produce great results.

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